Commodities in London Bar
Twenty Essex is ‘still the standout set for commodities matters’ and clients note that is has 'some real quality among its members, both silks and juniors'. One remarks that 'the clerks are helpful, commercially flexible and responsive'. The set combines great depth in shipping matters with in-depth knowledge of commodities trading across a broad range of soft commodities, oil, coal, gas, and metals. Co-head of chambers Duncan Matthews QC has more than 30 years' experience in this field and he successfully appeared for the claimant in Euro-Asian Oil SA v Credit Suisse AG, in which the Court of Appeal upheld a $15m award arising from a dispute concerning a contract to buy oil. Highly regarded senior-junior Henry Byam-Cook defended oil and gas company OMV in claims brought in the Commercial Court by Glencore.
7 King's Bench Walk is 'an excellent set with some of the best legal minds', remarks a client who sees it as 'our first choice set for shipping, commodities and insurance-related arbitration work'. Another notes that 'the end-to-end service is unparalleled and the clerks ensure availability – you are safe in the knowledge that they have not left a stone unturned'. Robert Bright QC is one of the best-known silks in the commodities sector and in 2018, along with Marcus Mander, Clara Benn and other members, he acted for ING/OW Bunkers in arbitration claims following a landmark Supreme Court decision from 2016. In ED&F Man Sugar v Royal and Sun Alliance, Peter MacDonald Eggers QC is currently handling a US$19m claim for lost or damaged sugar which had been stored in a warehouse in Ghana.
'I consider it to be the best shipping and trading set', remarks a client of Quadrant Chambers who adds that 'frankly the range of talent available is now so good it is very strong set in terms of maritime law and commodity trade disputes, particularly at the junior end'. Clients also note that 'the clerks are responsive and helpful; they give an excellent service in terms of speed of response and finding suitable counsel whenever required'. Simon Rainey QC, who frequently handles appeals following commodity arbitration awards by trade bodies such as GAFTA and FOSFA, represented Sucden Financial in a landmark appeal in the Commercial Court regarding the standard governing the sale and carriage of sugar. Respected junior Stewart Buckingham handled a large matter concerning the quality and condition of soybeans sold to buyers in Iran.
Essex Court Chambers is 'the pre-eminent set in international arbitration, shipping and commodities', according to one client who remarks that 'the quality of their barristers is unrivalled'. Another notes that it has 'a number of very good and user-friendly barristers for complex high-value commercial disputes' and that 'the clerking is really helpful, responsive, accommodating and flexible'. Graham Dunning QC acted as lead counsel in a Commercial Court trial and ensuing appeal between Citibank and Mercuria regarding obligated repos in respect of allegedly missing metal in China. Experienced junior David Walsh joined from Quadrant Chambers in 2018.
36 Stone, part of The 36 Group, is a dedicated commodities, shipping and international trade set. Its members have extensive experience in matters relating to shipping and commodities contracts in the civil and criminal courts, arbitrations, inquiries and other tribunals in the UK and overseas. It has highly regarded specialists including international trade and commodities specialist Vasanti Selvaratnam QC, who acted for a respondent Malaysian Bank in Deutsche Bank AG v CIMB Bank Berhad, which concerned discrepancies in documents in a commodity transaction. Highly experienced junior Charles Debattista practices in commodities, dry shipping and international trade disputes, both as counsel and as arbitrator. Ravi Aswani frequently handles the physical and paper elements of commodities transactions, and has experience in arbitrations before specialist trade bodies including GAFTA and FOSFA.